High Noon

July 7, 2007

So, remember Paul Verdayne from Three Weeks? An anonymous someone wanted to give him a happy ending, and wrote this sequel, High Noon. Sadly, it does not take place in the Western United States, although that would be hysterical. Instead, Paul returns to Switzerland and again falls in love with another mysterious Russian lady with black hair. It’s not really clear why, since right up until he falls in love with her he’s supposed to be indifferent to women. But apparently she resembles his “Queen” from Three Weeks, and then he decides that his Queen must have sent her, or something. And then he starts acting like every other man in every other early twentieth century trashy romance novel — well, half of them. The other half are creepy rapists like the hero of The Sheik.

But I suppose it doesn’t really matter if the plot makes any sense, because the writing is terrible. I mean, check this bit out:

“Oh! God,” he cried, out of the anguish of his soul, “what a hideous world! Beneath all this painted surface, this bedizened face of earth, lies naught but the yawning maw of the insatiable universe. This very lake, with its countenance covered with rippling smiles, is only a cruel monster waiting to devour. Everything, even the most beautiful, typifies the inexorable laws of Fate and the futility of man’s struggle with the forces he knows not.”

And then there’s the bit about how “a sombre warp of sorrow was now interwoven in the golden woof of his young happiness.” Golden woof! I guess Three Weeks must have been really, really popular for this thing to get published. I mean, Elinor Glyn wasn’t a great writer. But she was a writer.

And then…well, there are so many things wrong with this book. For example, Paul tries his hand at detective work, and — oh, I don’t even want to think about it. But I was very amused by the scene where, talking to a guy who he’s decided is a blackmailer, Paul goes off on a tangent about how he loves the great outdoors, and, I don’t know, tall grass, and sleeping under the stars. And the whole time, the guy he’s talking to is looking at him in horror, which Paul–and probably the author–chalks up to fear, or knowledge of wrongdoing, or some such thing, but you know, if I was there, I’d be staring at him in horror too, because I think he’s a lunatic. Maybe all those years of mourning for his Queen have finally driven him mad. That would be funny.

Anyway, he finally finds the girl at her home in Russia, but it doesn’t do him much good yet, because he gets knocked out, his valet gets shot, and the girl gets kidnapped. blah blah blah sort of boring rescue blah blah blah inevitable happy ending. And then he finds out that the girl is his former lover’s sister, which makes him very happy because apparently he doesn’t care that it’s a little bit incestuous and also the fact that she was sent to fall in love with him on purpose is kind of creepy. Clearly Anonymous feel differently to me about these things.

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